Digital skills are the proficiencies required to operate digital devices, communication applications, and networks to administer and utilise information. This ranges from basic online searching and emailing to professional programming and development. These proficiencies assist people in being in touch and working together. It also helps to build up and exchange digital resources and provide various solutions to problems in a dynamic working environment. Digital skills include the following, among others; computer literacy, data entry, social media, email and chat, programming, web, and app development. Digital skills have never been more critical to business and the workforce, as demonstrated by the universal shift to digital-first interactions like remote work, online commerce, and virtual collaboration. While this change has produced many benefits, like greater flexibility for workers, hiring new talent, and removing geographical barriers, it has also widened an already-large skills gap. This implies that with the digital skills gap, there are not enough people with the right digital skills to power companies’ transformation now and in the future.
Digital Skills Development
Learning novel digital skills can be quite overwhelming. The starting point is a major obstacle for many people who have no resources to spend on a conventional degree. However, it is imperative to understand that there is no rigid approach to digital skills acquisition or development. Standardised online degrees in a particular area of study or certifications of digital skills acquired can aid in bridging that divide. This means that people can rapidly acquire more focused degrees and certificates to help them get new employment in particular fields, such as information technology. In addition, the certifications can assist in driving individuals within industries where they are presently employed or create an avenue for individuals looking for a career change. The proliferation of online platforms such as Pearson, Skillshare, and LinkedIn grants access to digital skills in high demand and permits more individuals around the globe to become proficient in skills. Many universal internet users watch digital videos at least once a week. This comprises of musical videos and training. Although the print media is still essential, it is a less powerful force than it was in the past. The desire for visual content nowadays is essentially digital, and to connect with the target audience, there must be appealing video content. Several people these days go to sleep with their phones; they also check their phones shortly after waking up, this shows how attached and dependent people are on their mobile phones and digital technology. Optimising content such as blogs for portable devices and facilitating a flawless client experience from one device to another guarantees connection with customers, allowing purchases through social media.
Investing in Digital Skills
Investment in digital skills helps to acquire additional clients for any organisation. The desire to have extra sales in a digital age automatically translates to modernising the approach used to attract prospective clients by employing digital tools and techniques. Digital advertising can enhance revenue and boost the return on investment for any organisation in any industry. Since clients utilise social media and search engines to train themselves and make independent procurement choices, there is a necessity to adopt these same channels to take full advantage of their transactions and marketing performance. Although COVID-19 pandemic mandated the acceleration of companies’ digital transformations as much as 5 or 10 years ahead in some cases. This implies that companies have concentrated on digital services and products to compete in a changing market so as to make available customers’ requirements. It is one thing for the staff to be current with digital skills; however, digitally savvy executive teams with the knowledge of the impacts of emerging technologies on their company’s success are required to pilot a digital transformation policy.
Social and Digital Selling
There is currently an enormous noise about social selling as a prospect for sales professionals because its impact has been momentous. Social selling has presented novel ways for sales people to examine, approach, and connect with prospective clients and enabled sales agents who use social media to have an extra opportunity of meeting a potential client. Digital selling is becoming a new and progressively more exhilarating idea, especially for sales professionals and organisations. Digital selling has the massive potential over social selling to change a group or business into a selling machine. Digital marketing nowadays consists of various elements, including mobile, email, display, etc., to put together trademark consciousness.
Similarly, digital selling uses various tools and processes in conjunction with social media platforms to sell and eventually generate revenue. A digital and social seller can use online technologies and networks for monitoring and distribution to engage potential clients, foster relationships effortlessly and rapidly, and comprehend the difficulties and concerns a client may face to help them proffer solutions. Digital selling entails a variety of plans to be perfectly worked out in order to realise one main marketing target. Digital selling is growing continuously as the means of engaging online and employing all the digital sales tools available to generate additional sales opportunities. By leveraging all of the digital resources available and utilising them intelligently, organisations have a real opportunity to make an impression on potential clients.
Standardization of Digital Skills
Looking at the speed at which digital skills are in the world, a lot of the human resources of international organisations tend to find it an increasing and continuous challenge to get professionals with the requisite skills. As far as the digital world is concerned, the rate at which technologies and channels change implies that skills are obsolete rapidly. On the other hand, many people need the right skills to secure essential employment and guarantee a promotion or career progress. The considerable and increasing global digital skills gap is the major barrier for people searching for employment as well as the greatest obstacle for organisations making efforts to accomplish digital transformation. Professional certifications in this regard create a form of standardisation, as it federates acknowledgment for practical and expert knowledge. As industry certifications turn out to be an authentic substitute for degrees, people and organisations become conscious of the fact that they need digital skills that portray and reflect the business setting. The world of digital marketing and selling is constantly moving, and it doesn’t wait for latecomers. The best approach for instructors to eliminate or at least reduce the skills gap, decrease employee turnover rate, improve effectiveness, and guarantee skills that continue to be relevant is by making constant education and professional certification readily available.
To secure a sustainable future for any trademark, investing time, capital, and vigor into any digital transformation strategy is essential. It will aid in engaging with clients, enhancing operational effectiveness, minimising product delivery time, and encouraging innovation. There is an obvious connection between the level of digital transformation and economic feat. Companies that are well-grounded digitally tend to have a better revenue expansion rate than the newly emerging ones. Since income generation is the main aim of business expansion, it simply means digital transformation is worth investing in. Digital transformation is crucial to guarantee the success of any business. This is not necessarily in terms of the most recent and most effective technologies; there is also a need for digitally savvy employees to drive transformation. The best way to ensure the employees are current with the most essential digital skills is to simply train them.
Dr. Lizzy Oluwatoyin Ofusori is a postdoctoral research fellow at the School of Management, IT and Governance, University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban. She writes in her capacity.